The pregnancy problem solver: Lifestyle edition

By Published On: March 1st, 2010

The trials of pregnancy don’t end with bodily functions. You’ve […]

The trials of pregnancy don’t end with bodily functions. You’ve got a whole range of emotions and awkward situations in front of you. Hold on, friends, it’s going to be a bumpy ride …
Problem: You’re pregnant! But your friend isn’t—and she’s been trying for a year.
baby-fist-mouthGood to know: It can be uncomfortable to share the news of your pregnancy with someone who you know is struggling with infertility, but there’s nothing wrong with being excited about your impending arrival. Though your friend might have an emotional journey ahead of her as your pregnancy progresses, there’s a good chance she’ll be excited for you too.
The best thing you can do is be honest about the situation. Make sure that she hears it from you and not through the grapevine. You don’t have to shout your joy from the rooftops, but don’t underplay your excitement either—to act like a baby is no big deal would probably upset her even more. Be truthful and straightforward about your pregnancy but remain sympathetic to her situation, and read up on infertility and its emotional toll to help prevent accidental upset. Little things you might say to try to make her feel better—like “maybe it just isn’t meant to be for you right now”—can often do more harm than good.
Bottom line: Visit to find out more about what it’s like to walk in your sister’s shoes and to learn the dos and don’ts of supporting someone through infertility. And enjoy your pregnancy: You can be sad for your friend yet happy for yourself at the same time.
Problem: Your MIL has invited herself into the delivery room.
Good to know: You know that good-looking guy that got you into this mess in the first place? This problem is all his. (Unless your mom is the meddler in question, in which case it is your problem.) It’s easy to understand why a grandmother would want to witness her grandchild’s birth, but it’s equally easy to understand why a mom would want to keep that moment personal.
Your partner should tell his mom that you both love her and want her to be a part of the big day, but that you’re just not comfortable with the idea of her being in the delivery room. However, assure her that grandparents will be the first people allowed to hold the newest addition once the nurses have OK’d you for visitors—being a grandma does merit some perks, after all. Truthfully, most women who have given birth will empathize. Being in pain is no fun, and being in pain on display is even worse. Handling the situation honestly (but firmly) will ensure that you keep your privacy and Granny walks away with her pride intact.
Bottom line: It’s your day, so you call the shots, but you do need to settle any controversial topics ahead of time. The hallway outside the delivery room is no place for a family feud.
Problem: You’re really not in the mood for sex. Really.
Good to know: While the second trimester often puts mamas in a rather randy mood, the first and third might leave you feeling a little lackluster about sliding between the sheets for anything other than some much-needed sleep. If it’s the baby you or your partner is worried about, however, fret not: Intercourse is absolutely safe during pregnancy unless your doctor has told you otherwise (likely in the instance of a high-risk pregnancy). But if it’s just that you don’t quite feel like doing the deed—and with the nausea, exhaustion and irritability, who would?—rest assured you’ll one day get your sexy back … it just might not happen for several more months.
Be sure that your guy understands the reasons you’re not in the mood so he doesn’t take it personally—rejection is a lot easier when there’s a valid reason behind it. And you should both remember that abstaining from sex doesn’t mean giving up intimacy. Cuddle, caress and enjoy each other’s company. This halt in your sex life is nothing more than a bump in the road.
Bottom line: Enjoy sex when you feel up to it and rest when you don’t. Plenty of affection between you and your main squeeze will keep the love alive whether you’re having sex regularly or not.
Problem: You’re an emotional wreck.
Good to know: With all the hormones swirling around in your overwhelmed body, it’s no surprise that your emotions are out of whack. Whether you’re crying at the drop of a hat or screaming at the pizza delivery guy for taking too long, you’ll likely find moments during pregnancy when you just aren’t behaving like yourself.
Accepting that this is going to happen and forgiving yourself when it does is the first step. General well-being tactics—like getting plenty of sleep, eating healthily, and exercising regularly—can help balance emotional upset, but there’s really nothing that’s going to cure it. If you have an outburst or act irrationally about something, simply apologize and move on. Some moms find that keeping a journal helps them deal with pregnancy upset and anxiety, and others lean on girlfriends or supportive family members to guide them through. Taking time to unwind and do things you enjoy can also help with emotional overload.
Bottom line: Don’t expect perfection during pregnancy, because no one is resistant to a hormone-fueled fit. Enjoy your pregnancy and savor the good moments … when it’s all said and done, you’ll realize they definitely outweigh the bad.